Most people are aware that the Christian church is losing its young adults, however it’s also losing children, particularly at transition points in their lives.
According to a study called “Hemorrhaging Faith” by Canadian sociologist James Penner, the Christian church is “losing more young people between childhood and adolescence, than between adolescence and young adult years”.
In response, the Australian Union Conference’s (AUC) Children’s Ministries leaders have launched “Faith Shaper”—an initiative designed to shape lifelong faith in children.
Faith Shaper focuses on impacting children in the two God-ordained faith environments—the church and the home.
“Children’s Sabbath School, participation with other generations in church worship and the need to evangelise children are top priorities,” South Pacific Division Children’s Ministries director Julie Weslake said.
Building faith in the home is just as important, as “evidence shows that the single most important social influence on the religious and spiritual lives, is their parents” (Smith and Denton, Soul Searching).
The AUC held a Children’s Ministries Consultation in May in Mildura, where directors compiled a list of resources that will soon be made available through a comprehensive website and app for parents to access. The Faith Shaper logo was also launched during the meeting.
Mrs Weslake said directors have recommitted their time and energy to “ensure that children—by the time they get to the age of 12—have an Adventist worldview, and the values, attitudes, habits and beliefs that will ensure lifelong faith”.